Jon Lester Reportedly Drawing Interest from Giants in 2020 MLB Free Agency

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2020

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester walks to the dugout against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The San Francisco Giants have Jon Lester on their radar as they look to bolster their starting rotation, according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi

San Francisco was a finalist for Lester when the veteran left-hander was a free agent ahead of the 2015 MLB season.

The Chicago Cubs declined Lester's $25 million option for 2021, allowing him to hit the open market again.

Morosi posited the 36-year-old Georgia resident might have liked to join the Atlanta Braves. However, Atlanta announced Tuesday it signed Charlie Morton to a one-year, $15 million deal after having added Drew Smyly for one year and $11 million.

The Braves' rotation looks set, leaving little room for Lester.

The five-time All-Star struggled this past season, going 3-3 with a 5.14 FIP in 12 starts, per FanGraphs

His 6.2 strikeouts per nine innings were a career low, and his fastball averaged 89.87 mph, according to Brooks Baseball. That was his second-most frequently used pitch (27.28 percent), and opposing hitters slugged .619 against it.

Lester wasn't a dominant strikeout pitcher in his prime, and his diminishing velocity is shrinking his margin for error on the mound.

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Drawing any conclusions based solely on 2020 is unfair because of the circumstances surrounding the year. Perhaps Lester's performance would've leveled off a bit more in a traditional 162-game campaign.

His days as a starter you insert at the top of your rotation are over, though. He probably wouldn't be any higher than No. 4 or 5 in San Francisco's staff.